Gilbert wins Amstel Gold, Haas impresses to finish fourth

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    Australian cyclist Nathan Haas has enjoyed one of the biggest results of his career, finishing fourth at Amstel Gold.

    As in-form Belgian Philippe Gilbert won the opening race of Ardennes week for the fourth time, Haas was rapt with his result.

    “I put the pressure on myself because I felt my legs were strong enough to hold it,” he said.

    “I haven’t won too many races from a small select group, it’s usually after a reduced group sprint, so this performance really felt like some kind of psychological breakthrough for me.

    “I’m really proud of myself today”.

    Swiss Michael Albasini, who rides for the Australian Orica-Scott team, beat Haas in a four-rider sprint for third place.

    They finished 10 seconds behind Gilbert, who outsprinted Polish star Michal Kwiatkowski for the win.

    Haas said it a great result after a difficult time for the Dimension Data team.

    “We have had a lot of bad luck in the past few months and the (spring) classics haven’t been what the guys deserved after all their hard work,” he said.

    “Today, we really wanted to put a pin in it.

    “We went in to this race with only one goal in mind; to race it with balls. Win or lose … I can’t thank the guys enough.”

    It was Gilbert’s fourth win in this spring campaign and it comes a fortnight after the Quick-Step Floors star won the Tour of Flanders.

    Gilbert held up four fingers in celebration at the finish.

    Only Dutchman Jan Raas, who won five times between 1977-82, has won more Amstel Gold titles.

    Also on Sunday, Dutch Olympic road race champion Anna Van der Breggen won the women’s Amstel Gold, finishing 55 seconds up on British Boels Dolmans teammate Lizzie Deignan.

    Belgian Orica-Scott rider Annamiek van Vleuten tied for third place with Katarzyna Niewiadoma.from Poland.

    © AAP 2017

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